Monday, August 29, 2022

PN is the logical conclusion to corruption of BN

S Thayaparan

"Past experience teaches us that a political culture surrounded by corrupt practices is a destructive evil.“

– Perikatan Nasional chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin

COMMENT | Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin who was a beneficiary of treachery in declaring war on Umno/BN claimed that PN and BN were “as far apart as heaven and earth", which is true in the sense that PN is the nadir of the mythical social contract that Malaysians have had to live with for decades.

BN always believed that it needed a fig leaf of non-Malay participation in government and paid lip service to the idea that Malaysia was a diverse country with equal participation for all.

PN, on the other hand, with a virulent PAS in play, is the apex of the ketuanan ideology, bankrupt of ideas, disguising its entitlement programmes as populist moves for “the people”, which really means for the Malays.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, when discussing the fallout from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s incarceration, pointed to the fact that some of those cheering his jailing were as corrupt as Najib.

This, of course, points to the reality that public institutions did not bring down Najib but rather elements in the Malay political establishment led by the once Machiavellian – now merely addled – Dr Mahathir Mohamad and a grasping opposition brought down the former prime minister after, which they spectacularly blew up.

Muhyiddin likes to play the honest leader card but the reality is that he is a prime minister who declared a faux emergency just to remain in power.

Leading up to the “emergency”, the PN government attempted to soothe the frayed nerves of the public by claiming that this was not really an emergency but rather something else that was like, but not really, an emergency.

Malaysiakini columnist Syahredzan Johan astutely pointed out that even the royal institution was concerned about the possible abuse of political power in the first attempt at an emergency:

“The word membatasi was the only one to be highlighted in red in the statement. The other words were printed in black. This statement is significant as it suggests that the rulers were of the view that there could be elements of abuse of power in an emergency and that the Agong's role is to ensure that executive powers are not abused.”

Subversion, then usurpation

PAS meanwhile attempts to subvert the democratic guardrails in this country using the political chaos as a smokescreen to advance fascist policies.

I have no idea why some folks are so dismissive of PAS which is not only criminally naïve but also indicative of the kind of partisanship that will result in the death of democracy by a thousand cuts.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang understands that he will be vilified by non-Malays, but he also knows that when it comes to actual policymaking, his rhetoric and that of his base will have a profound impact, even though politically in terms of representation, PAS may be negligible, especially in the federal government.

Like most extremists in a democratic structure, their goal, in the beginning, is subversion and then usurpation.

In 2019, Kelantan deputy menteri besar said the state has managed to be graft-free since PAS took over its administration in 1990.

Of course, the numerous reports about corruption, especially illegal logging, land grabs and other municipal malfeasance, are ignored by the menteri besar because (in the reality created by PAS) corruption is only something others do and not the religious party (PAS) whose members believe that they are ordained by God to impose Islamic superiority in this country.

Add to this a religious bureaucracy which reinforces PAS' narratives, we are left with a large chunk of the voting public immune to rational argument.

The other chunk is blinded by partisan fervour and rational people have to choose between the two.

Keep in mind that the PAS ulama wing even went so far as to defy the Selangor sultan in the Bon Odori fiasco.

PAS ulama wing chief Ahmad Yahaya did three things when he dismissed the sultan’s claims about the festival.

First, he publicly disagreed with the head of the religion of a state thereby implying that the sultan is not fluent in religious dogma - and thereby challenging the words of the Selangor state ruler.

Second, he encourages, one could even argue, ferment rebellion by asking the religious apparatus in all states to further investigate the Bon Odori festival, thereby bypassing the words of the sultan and establishing a narrative that the final arbiter of what is Islamic in this country is not the sultan but rather the religious bureaucracy.

Third, and this is the most troubling, is that Ahmad goes a step further and encourages Muslims not to attend the festival on religious grounds, thereby going against the words of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah who, in this context, was essentially taking the middle ground.

Hence middle ground politics is more vulnerable to political extremist insurgencies, and since there are no real bulwarks, middle ground political operatives are left to fend for themselves.

Reforms of public institutions

The fact that Bersatu is successfully waging a war of attrition on Umno vote banks, and the reality that there are Umno political operatives who support Bersatu in the hopes of leveraging said support to carry out their own political agendas, demonstrates that far from being a wounded beast, the mainstream political establishment is making plays which would redefine the political and social landscape of this country.

No political operatives from either PN or BN are willing to carry out reforms of our public institutions to give back power to the people.

The opposition is foolish to use the jailing of Najib and the actions of the Federal Court as some sort of talisman to keep the darkness at bay, narcotising its base into believing that the system will ultimately prevail.

Do not for one moment think that the system is holding.

The reality is that Malay uber alles political operatives have slain more Malay sacred cows in their quest for political hegemony and the fact that we do not have an opposition which is a strong secular alternative makes the situation even more precarious.

The opposition should make use of the fact that the Malay uber alles cartels have slayed all these sacred cows, instead of attempting a retreat to the status quo.

To save Malaysia, Harapan should be willing to burn corrupt, extremist bridges.

Make no mistake, the coming general elections brought upon by feuding elements in the Malay political establishment will determine if this country remains a somewhat secular democracy or whether it will slip into a theocratic failed state.

This remains the state of play.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”


  1. Majority of Malaysians are very relaxed about corruption.

    Cool... they can deal with it... No need to get so excited about it.....
    as long as they get their Bantuan or BR1M or whatever it's called this days..
    Let the politicians keep whatever "cut" percentage they need... 5 % of 10 Billion is 500 million.. it's just a number, nothing to do with the ordinary person..

  2. "Keep in mind that the PAS ulama wing even went so far as to defy the Selangor Sultan in the Bon Odori fiasco."

    Comment: more troubling, they got away scot free proving that even the Sultan is unable to rein them in.